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Mrs. Wentworth

Dear Mrs. Wentworth: My daughter is struggling in high school. She has so much potential but her grades have been slipping. She spends a lot of time chatting on the phone and internet. When my husband or I try to get her to do her homework, she refuses and shuts us out. Help. What should we do? A concerned, loving parent

Dear C.L.P.
First, take a deep breath. You're not alone. Many parents are struggling with the same concerns you are. I've spoken with many of them in my 47 years at Wentworth, so I know it's easy to feel overwhelmed, which invariably compounds the challenge. I raised four boys of my own and was continually learning with each of them, just as I have learned from the hundreds of 'my' boys and girls who have attended Wentworth over the last half-century. I know there are no easy answers but let me suggest one possible strategy for dealing with your concern. Your daughter needs clear guidelines. Responsibilities always come first, i.e. homework, school projects, room straightened, personal hygiene, clothes laid out for tomorrow, etc. Once these have been accomplished, then you can allow down time for chatting on the internet or phone but with a reasonable cut off time. If her friends call at an inappropriate time, have her ask them to call back at a specific time. This gives her a goal to have her responsibilities finished in that time limit. However, remember that many times they use the internet or phone to help each other with their homework. Be open to this possibility and trust your daughter to use either chat line for this specific purpose during study time. People of any age want to feel their superiors trust them. The greater percentage will work to these expectations of trust. Leave communications open between you and your child all of your life. It pays big dividends for each of you throughout the years. I wish you the very best and if you have further questions feel free to ask.

'Mrs. Wentworth' is Norma Maring, Director Emeritus of Alumni Relations at Wentworth Military Academy. Write Norma with your questions at 1880 Washington Ave., Lexington, MO 64067 or send email to mrswentworth@wma.edu.

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